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Good news for people who suffer outbreaks of shingles, the food and drug administration has approved a vaccine that cuts the risk of the very painful and sometimes dangerous skin rash by fifty percent. Shingles, caused by a virus  known as Herpes Zoster, is a common and very uncomfortable condition.
The symptoms of shingles commonly last around two weeks though can in some cases last for a much longer duration, the primary symptom being discomfort which in many cases can be quite severe. Shingles themselves are not contagious from one individual to another, but there have been cases where an individual has caught the chickenpox virus from someone with an outbreak of shingles.
The vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006, and it was reported that during studies the vaccine prevented shingle outbreaks in nearly fifty percent of people sixty years of age and older. People suffering from HIV, AIDS or any other disease that may affect the immune system, as well as people undergoing treatments for cancer or with history of cancer, or those suffering with active tuberculosis are not good candidates for the vaccine.
Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for an outbreak of shingles and an estimated twenty percent of people who’ve had chickenpox will at one point in their life experience an outbreak of shingles. Initial, positive results have been reported for a therapeutic vaccine candidate for treating patients with genital herpes. T cells, a type of white blood cells, generate immune responses to pathogens and are important in controlling infections. Wald and her team presented the initial findings of the first-in-human clinical trial of the novel GEN-003 T cell vaccine Sept. Genocea plans to move into Phase 2 of this trial in 2014 to further evaluate GEN 003’s safety and effectiveness in a larger group of patients. At unpredictable times in those carrying the infection, the herpes virus will come out of hiding and  surface on the genitals, sometimes producing blisters and discomfort, and sometimes arising without any noticeable symptoms.  This surfacing is called viral shedding.
The results also demonstrated that immunization with GEN-003 is associated with activation of T cell immunity.
The first-in-human clinical trial was not designed to test whether GEN-003 lessens symptoms or lowers how often a breakout occurs. Genocea developed the proprietary platform ATLAS, which can identify protective T cell antigens in people exposed to a pathogen. The vaccine contains, among other components, a proprietary adjuvant, trademarked Matrix-M. Recent mentions of the University of Washington in the newsDo Trump’s racist appeals have a silver lining? Varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes chicken-pox in children and both shingles (herpes zoster) and postherpetic neuralgia in adults but rarely in children. As with other herpes viruses, VZV causes both an acute illness and a lifelong latent infection.

The chickenpox vaccine makes the illness very mild (less than 30 pox) and can even prevent the chickenpox disease completely.
Once a person contract the chickenpox virus, the virus will lay dormant in the body and can resurface later in life in the form of shingles. Clinical studies also show that the vaccine can drastically reduce the pain commonly associated with outbreaks of shingles as well. Shingles does not typically affect people under the age of fifty and is much more common as the age increases. People who have had allergic reactions to gelatin or neomycin are also among those who shouldn’t receive the vaccine. In excess of one million people a year will suffer painful outbreaks of shingles and some of these poor people will suffer from multiple outbreaks each year, this one dose vaccine could conceivably cut that number in half.
This first-in-class, investigational, protein subunit vaccine, GEN-003, is under development by Genocea Biosciences Inc. Anna Wald, University of Washington professor of medicine and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, is among those leading clinical studies of GEN-003. David Koelle’s lab in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine. T cell vaccine research is trying to find safe, effective ways to spur this protective reaction. 12 at a session of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobials Agents and Chemotherapy in Denver.
The infection can provoke recurring episodes of painful genital sores.  An estimated 50 million to 60 million Americans are affected. In those receiving the vaccine candidate, T cell immune responses increased more than 20 times to one vaccine antigen and more than 10 times to another antigen.  The vaccine candidate also increased neutralizing antibodies to the herpes simplex 2 by five times greater than baseline amounts. However, an exploratory analysis suggested that the interval between the first immunization with GEN-003 and the next recurrence of genital herpes might be longer in those receiving the actual candidate vaccine, rather than the placebo injection. Wald is enrolling women infected with herpes simplex virus 2 in a study to see whether the drug tenofovir, given orally or as a vaginal gel, reduces genital shedding of the virus. The cases are usually mild, although rarely can have complications including encephalitis or pneumonia.
The contagious nature of varicella skin lesions was first demonstrated by Steiner in 1875, but it was not until 1932 that Bruusgaard presented evidence that varicella could be transmitted by a patient with the rash of zoster. The infected person is contagious 1 to 2 days before breaking out with the pox and remains contagious while uncrusted blisters are present. You can get chickenpox from touching the fluids from a chickenpox blister, but you can also get it if someone with chickenpox coughs or sneezes near you.

It generally affects adults over fifty years of age, who have either had a case of chicken pox, or have received the chicken pox vaccine.
Studies show the vaccine will protect against shingles outbreaks for a period of five years, researchers are still studying the effects of the vaccine over a ten year period. People who suffer from shingles outbreaks are often in continual pain for periods of week, sometimes months. Genocea, located near Boston, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company for the discovery and development of T cell vaccines to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Viral shedding is a marker both of the risk of recurrence and the transmission of infection. The adjuvant has a product that, in previous clinical studies, has been shown to stimulate B and T cell immune responses.
Reducing the frequency of viral shedding is the first step to showing that a drug can reduce outbreaks or, potentially, sexual transmission to partners. In a child with normal cellular immunity, primary VZV infection is relatively benign and self-limiting. Since then, it has been added to the recommended vaccination schedules for children in Australia, the United States, and many other countries. Tenofovir has been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV, and in some studies there was also a reduction in the frequency of HSV-2 acquisition, but this is the first time that it is being tested as a drug specifically for HSV-2.
Transmission occurs through direct contact with infectious lesions or mucous membrane contact with infected droplets. Varicella vaccination has raised concerns in some that the immunity induced by the vaccine may not be lifelong, possibly leaving adults vulnerable to more severe disease as the immunity from their childhood immunization wanes. Infectivity usually begins 1 to 2 days before the onset of rash and persists until all vesicular lesions are dried and crusted. Vaccine coverage in the United States in the population recommended for vaccination is approaching 90%, with concurrent reductions in the incidence of chickenpox cases and hospitalizations and deaths due to VZV. VZV lesions in HIV-infected patients, unlike those in the immunocompetent host, may heal slowly and can remain infectious for several weeks. Bohle Maschinen + Verfahren GmbH LabWare Linkam Scientific Instruments Limited MKS Umetrics Molins Technologies Multicore Dynamics Ltd Nanosurf New England Biolabs, Inc.
Serious complications of shingles include postherpetic neuralgia, zoster multiplex, myelitis, herpes ophthalmicus, or zoster sine herpete.

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